Gilles Brassard is a computer scientist recognized for being among the international founders of the field of quantum information science. Together with Charles H. Bennett (NAS member), he laid the foundations of quantum cryptography at a time when nobody could have predicted that quantum technologies would become a multi-billion-dollar industry thirty-five years later. He is also among the inventors of quantum teleportation, which is universally recognized as one of the most fundamental pillars of the discipline. Brassard was born and raised in Montréal. He graduated from the Université de Montréal with a master’s in computer science and from Cornell University in 1979 with a PhD in theoretical computer science. Immediately afterwards, he took a faculty position in the Department of Computer Science at Université de Montréal, where he became Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information in 2001. Officer of the Orders of Canada and Québec, his many awards include the Wolf Prize in Physics, the Micius Quantum Prize and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Basic Sciences. He received honorary doctorates from ETH Zürich, the University of Ottawa, and USI Lugano. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013 and International Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2021.

Research Interests

Professor Gilles Brassard is interested in how quantum theory impacts computer science and vice versa. In one direction, he studies how the landscape of computer science was transformed by harnessing the power of our quantum world. For instance, his invention of quantum cryptography goes against a well-established theorem of Shannon: it is possible to achieve perfect secrecy with no need of a prior secret key that would be as long as the (entropy) of the message to be transmitted. Quantum information can also assist in various other cryptographic tasks such as coin flipping, bit commitment, oblivious transfer, etc. Furthermore, quantum information can be exploited for a variety of computational tasks such as the factorization of large numbers, with dramatic implications for the current cryptographic infrastructure underlying the (in)security of all Internet transactions.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 13: Physics

Secondary Section

Section 34: Computer and Information Sciences